After 58 plus years of visiting Virginia mountain trout streams and rivers I , like most experienced fishermen, have a pretty large memory bank of my favorite trout places to visit. Don't get me wrong I cherish every time and place I go myself or take folks but some of the same spots have produced the most memories. If I think about it this favorites list I have to take into consideration the natural beauty of most of these as well what makes a particular pool special. Maybe it produced an unusual experience of same kind such as a particularly aggressive trout's take of the fly, maybe we caught a trophy trout in an unusual spot we didn't think he was supposed to be. Maybe it is the sheer numbers of times we have been successful at a fishing spot when other spots failed, a ''honey'' hole most would call it but some on the favorite list may have only had a 1 time memorable event. Fifty years ago I was flyfishing on Pedlar and miscast a dry caddis to a pool. The fly wrapped around an over a low overhanging limb and was bouncing 2'' above the water when all of a sudden an 8'' Brook trout came up and nailed it. it's not always what but how, I can still see the little Brook jumping 2'' to get my fly. It might fool you but size of fish is not always enter into the criteria like the one above. Of course what makes many of these spots memorable in the first place is that most meet the trout's life needs and have continued to do so for decades, centuries, etc. Maybe your father or a friend passed one these prized pools down to you. One on my lists is on a very small 6' wide National Forest stream where about 25 years ago I was fishing for native brookies and was rudely awakened when I presented a small stonefly nymph to a trouty looking spot under a huge hemlock. An eye popping 21'' 4 pound hooked jaw Brown took the fly in an almost violent fashion, I snapped his picture and he went back under ''his'' rock. Good things have happened to me fishing around more public bridge abutments, of course the place I caught my first trout is on my Hall of Fame list of trout places. Years ago I caught a huge trophy Rainbow tucked way under a ledge in a Bullpasture River trib after I know a 100 people had fished it 2 days before, yeah it's on the list. Sometimes you have to share a favorite with more people. This past fishing season produced the biggest trout on the days weather sent most anglers packing, so it is a contributor to making the list. Right time right place of course is big.
I hit the water for a couple hours yesterday in 32 degree air temps and came to one of the public spots on my list. I caught 4 trout nymphing in just a few casts which was pretty good on a cold winter day. I changed to a minnow imitation. First cast produced a beautiful 21 '' Rainbow, still full of color and fight as I released it. Hopefully another angler can have the same experience I did at this pool, maybe it will make his or hers ''favorite' list. This same pool produced a 5 pound hook-jawed Brown several years ago, I remember it because as I was getting ready to snap a picture of the trout I dropped my brand new Sony $800 camera in the drink and ruined it for good. Every time you go fishing you're running the risk of making a lifetime memory whether good, funny or bad. What a pleasant thought. I better get off here, I'll be telling fishin' stories from now on. Time to get started on your own ''favorites'' list. John